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Safran (SAF) SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / MBA Resources

Introduction to SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix for Safran (France)


Based on various researches at Oak Spring University , Safran is operating in a macro-environment that has been destablized by – geopolitical disruptions, cloud computing is disrupting traditional business models, increasing government debt because of Covid-19 spendings, increasing inequality as vast percentage of new income is going to the top 1%, customer relationship management is fast transforming because of increasing concerns over data privacy, increasing household debt because of falling income levels, digital marketing is dominated by two big players Facebook and Google, talent flight as more people leaving formal jobs, there is backlash against globalization, etc



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Introduction to SWOT Analysis of Safran


SWOT stands for an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats . At Oak Spring University, we believe that Safran can use SWOT analysis as a strategic management tool to assess the current internal strengths and weaknesses of the Safran, and to figure out the opportunities and threats in the macro environment – technological, environmental, political, economic, social, demographic, etc in which Safran operates in.

According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of the managers use SWOT analysis for various purposes such as – evaluating current scenario, strategic planning, new venture feasibility, personal growth goals, new market entry, Go To market strategies, portfolio management and strategic trade-off assessment, organizational restructuring, etc.




SWOT Objectives / Importance of SWOT Analysis and SWOT Matrix


SWOT analysis of Safran can be done for the following purposes –
1. Strategic planning of Safran
2. Improving business portfolio management of Safran
3. Assessing feasibility of the new initiative in France
4. Making a Aerospace & Defense sector specific business decision
5. Set goals for the organization
6. Organizational restructuring of Safran




Strengths of Safran | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Strengths in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The strengths of Safran are -

Strong track record of project management in the Aerospace & Defense industry

– Safran is known for sticking to its project targets. This enables the firm to manage – time, project costs, and have sustainable margins on the projects.

Ability to recruit top talent

– Safran is one of the leading players in the Aerospace & Defense industry in France. It is in a position to attract the best talent available in France. The firm has a robust talent identification program that helps in identifying the brightest.

Learning organization

- Safran is a learning organization. It has inculcated three key characters of learning organization in its processes and operations – exploration, creativity, and expansiveness. The work place at Safran is open place that encourages instructiveness, ideation, open minded discussions, and creativity. Employees and leaders at Safran emphasize – knowledge, initiative, and innovation.

Training and development

– Safran has one of the best training and development program in Capital Goods industry. The effectiveness of the training programs can be measured in – employees retention, in-house promotion, loyalty, new venture initiation, lack of conflict, and high level of both employees and customer engagement.

Effective Research and Development (R&D)

– Safran has innovation driven culture where significant part of the revenues are spent on the research and development activities. This has resulted in – Safran staying ahead in the Aerospace & Defense industry in terms of – new product launches, superior customer experience, highly competitive pricing strategies, and great returns to the shareholders.

High switching costs

– The high switching costs that Safran has built up over years in its products and services combo offer has resulted in high retention of customers, lower marketing costs, and greater ability of the firm to focus on its customers.

Cross disciplinary teams

– Horizontal connected teams at the Safran are driving operational speed, building greater agility, and keeping the organization nimble to compete with new competitors. It helps are organization to ideate new ideas, and execute them swiftly in the marketplace.

Digital Transformation in Aerospace & Defense industry

- digital transformation varies from industry to industry. For Safran digital transformation journey comprises differing goals based on market maturity, customer technology acceptance, and organizational culture. Safran has successfully integrated the four key components of digital transformation – digital integration in processes, digital integration in marketing and customer relationship management, digital integration into the value chain, and using technology to explore new products and market opportunities.

Highly skilled collaborators

– Safran has highly efficient outsourcing and offshoring strategy. It has resulted in greater operational flexibility and bringing down the costs in highly price sensitive Aerospace & Defense industry. Secondly the value chain collaborators of Safran have helped the firm to develop new products and bring them quickly to the marketplace.

Operational resilience

– The operational resilience strategy of Safran comprises – understanding the underlying the factors in the Aerospace & Defense industry, building diversified operations across different geographies so that disruption in one part of the world doesn’t impact the overall performance of the firm, and integrating the various business operations and processes through its digital transformation drive.

Ability to lead change in Aerospace & Defense

– Safran is one of the leading players in the Aerospace & Defense industry in France. Over the years it has not only transformed the business landscape in the Aerospace & Defense industry in France but also across the existing markets. The ability to lead change has enabled Safran in – penetrating new markets, reaching out to new customers, and providing different value propositions to different customers in the international markets.

Innovation driven organization

– Safran is one of the most innovative firm in Aerospace & Defense sector.






Weaknesses of Safran | Internal Strategic Factors
What are Weaknesses in SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis

The weaknesses of Safran are -

Slow to harness new channels of communication

– Even though competitors are using new communication channels such as Instagram, Tiktok, and Snap, Safran is slow explore the new channels of communication. These new channels of communication can help Safran to provide better information regarding Aerospace & Defense products and services. It can also build an online community to further reach out to potential customers.

High bargaining power of channel partners in Aerospace & Defense industry

– because of the regulatory requirements in France, Safran is facing high bargaining power of the channel partners. So far it has not able to streamline the operations to reduce the bargaining power of the value chain partners in the Aerospace & Defense industry.

Slow decision making process

– As mentioned earlier in the report, Safran has a very deliberative decision making approach. This approach has resulted in prudent decisions, but it has also resulted in missing opportunities in the Aerospace & Defense industry over the last five years. Safran even though has strong showing on digital transformation primary two stages, it has struggled to capitalize the power of digital transformation in marketing efforts and new venture efforts.

High dependence on Safran ‘s star products

– The top 2 products and services of Safran still accounts for major business revenue. This dependence on star products in Aerospace & Defense industry has resulted into insufficient focus on developing new products, even though Safran has relatively successful track record of launching new products.

Low market penetration in new markets

– Outside its home market of France, Safran needs to spend more promotional, marketing, and advertising efforts to penetrate international markets.

Ability to respond to the competition

– As the decision making is very deliberative at Safran, in the dynamic environment of Aerospace & Defense industry it has struggled to respond to the nimble upstart competition. Safran has reasonably good record with similar level competitors but it has struggled with new entrants taking away niches of its business.

Capital Spending Reduction

– Even during the low interest decade, Safran has not been able to do capital spending to the tune of the competition. This has resulted into fewer innovations and company facing stiff competition from both existing competitors and new entrants who are disrupting the Aerospace & Defense industry using digital technology.

Need for greater diversity

– Safran has taken concrete steps on diversity, equity, and inclusion. But the efforts so far has resulted in limited success. It needs to expand the recruitment and selection process to hire more people from the minorities and underprivileged background.

High cash cycle compare to competitors

Safran has a high cash cycle compare to other players in the Aerospace & Defense industry. It needs to shorten the cash cycle by 12% to be more competitive in the marketplace, reduce inventory costs, and be more profitable.

Increasing silos among functional specialists

– The organizational structure of Safran is dominated by functional specialists. It is not different from other players in the Aerospace & Defense industry, but Safran needs to de-silo the office environment to harness the true potential of its workforce. Secondly the de-silo will also help Safran to focus more on services in the Aerospace & Defense industry rather than just following the product oriented approach.

High dependence on existing supply chain

– The disruption in the global supply chains because of the Covid-19 pandemic and blockage of the Suez Canal illustrated the fragile nature of Safran supply chain. Even after few cautionary changes, Safran is still heavily dependent upon the existing supply chain. The existing supply chain though brings in cost efficiencies but it has left Safran vulnerable to further global disruptions in South East Asia.




Safran Opportunities | External Strategic Factors
What are Opportunities in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The opportunities of Safran are -

Identify volunteer opportunities

– Covid-19 has impacted working population in two ways – it has led to people soul searching about their professional choices, resulting in mass resignation. Secondly it has encouraged people to do things that they are passionate about. This has opened opportunities for businesses to build volunteer oriented socially driven projects. Safran can explore opportunities that can attract volunteers and are consistent with its mission and vision.

Increase in government spending

– As the United States and other governments are increasing social spending and infrastructure spending to build economies post Covid-19, Safran can use these opportunities to build new business models that can help the communities that Safran operates in. Secondly it can use opportunities from government spending in Aerospace & Defense sector.

Building a culture of innovation

– managers at Safran can make experimentation a productive activity and build a culture of innovation using approaches such as – mining transaction data, A/B testing of websites and selling platforms, engaging potential customers over various needs, and building on small ideas in the Aerospace & Defense industry.

Leveraging digital technologies

– Safran can leverage digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the production process, customer analytics to get better insights into consumer behavior, realtime digital dashboards to get better sales tracking, logistics and transportation, product tracking, etc.

Lowering marketing communication costs

– 5G expansion will open new opportunities for Safran in the field of marketing communication. It will bring down the cost of doing business, provide technology platform to build new products in the Aerospace & Defense industry, and it will provide faster access to the consumers.

Buying journey improvements

– Safran can improve the customer journey of consumers in the Aerospace & Defense industry by using analytics and artificial intelligence. It can provide automated chats to help consumers solve their own problems, provide online suggestions to get maximum out of the products and services, and help consumers to build a community where they can interact with each other to develop new features and uses.

Manufacturing automation

– Safran can use the latest technology developments to improve its manufacturing and designing process in Aerospace & Defense sector. It can use CAD and 3D printing to build a quick prototype and pilot testing products. It can leverage automation using machine learning and artificial intelligence to do faster production at lowers costs, and it can leverage the growth in satellite and tracking technologies to improve inventory management, transportation, and shipping.

Remote work and new talent hiring opportunities

– The widespread usage of remote working technologies during Covid-19 has opened opportunities for Safran to expand its talent hiring zone. According to McKinsey Global Institute, 20% of the high end workforce in fields such as finance, information technology, can continously work from remote local post Covid-19. This presents a really great opportunity for Safran to hire the very best people irrespective of their geographical location.

Redefining models of collaboration and team work

– As explained in the weaknesses section, Safran is facing challenges because of the dominance of functional experts in the organization. Safran can utilize new technology in the field of Aerospace & Defense industry to build more coordinated teams and streamline operations and communications using tools such as CAD, Zoom, etc.

Low interest rates

– Even though inflation is raising its head in most developed economies, Safran can still utilize the low interest rates to borrow money for capital investment. Secondly it can also use the increase of government spending in infrastructure projects to get new business.

Learning at scale

– Online learning technologies has now opened space for Safran to conduct training and development for its employees across the world. This will result in not only reducing the cost of training but also help employees in different part of the world to integrate with the headquarter work culture, ethos, and standards.

Reforming the budgeting process

- By establishing new metrics that will be used to evaluate both existing and potential projects Safran can not only reduce the costs of the project but also help it in integrating the projects with other processes within the organization.

Changes in consumer behavior post Covid-19

– consumer behavior has changed in the Aerospace & Defense industry because of Covid-19 restrictions. Some of this behavior will stay once things get back to normal. Safran can take advantage of these changes in consumer behavior to build a far more efficient business model. For example consumer regular ordering of products can reduce both last mile delivery costs and market penetration costs. Safran can further use this consumer data to build better customer loyalty, provide better products and service collection, and improve the value proposition in inflationary times.




Threats Safran External Strategic Factors
What are Threats in the SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix / Weighted SWOT Analysis


The threats of Safran are -

Backlash against dominant players

– US Congress and other legislative arms of the government are getting tough on big business especially technology companies. The digital arm of Safran business can come under increasing regulations regarding data privacy, data security, etc.

Trade war between China and United States

– The trade war between two of the biggest economies can hugely impact the opportunities for Safran in Aerospace & Defense industry. The Aerospace & Defense industry is already at various protected from local competition in China, with the rise of trade war the protection levels may go up. This presents a clear threat of current business model in Chinese market.

Regulatory challenges

– Safran needs to prepare for regulatory challenges as consumer protection groups and other pressure groups are vigorously advocating for more regulations on big business - to reduce inequality, to create a level playing field, to product data privacy and consumer privacy, to reduce the influence of big money on democratic institutions, etc. This can lead to significant changes in the Aerospace & Defense industry regulations.

Instability in the European markets

– European Union markets are facing three big challenges post Covid – expanded balance sheets, Brexit related business disruption, and aggressive Russia looking to distract the existing security mechanism. Safran will face different problems in different parts of Europe. For example it will face inflationary pressures in UK, France, and Germany, balance sheet expansion and demand challenges in Southern European countries, and geopolitical instability in the Eastern Europe.

Technology acceleration in Forth Industrial Revolution

– Safran has witnessed rapid integration of technology during Covid-19 in the Aerospace & Defense industry. As one of the leading players in the industry, Safran needs to keep up with the evolution of technology in the Aerospace & Defense sector. According to Mckinsey study top managers believe that the adoption of technology in operations, communications is 20-25 times faster than what they planned in the beginning of 2019.

Barriers of entry lowering

– As technology is more democratized, the barriers to entry to Aerospace & Defense industry are lowering. It can presents Safran with greater competitive threats in the near to medium future. Secondly it will also put downward pressure on pricing throughout the Aerospace & Defense sector.

Stagnating economy with rate increase

– Safran can face lack of demand in the market place because of Fed actions to reduce inflation. This can lead to sluggish growth in the economy, lower demands, lower investments, higher borrowing costs, and consolidation in the Aerospace & Defense industry.

Capital market disruption

– During the Covid-19, Dow Jones has touched record high. The valuations of a number of companies are way beyond their existing business model potential. This can lead to capital market correction which can put a number of suppliers, collaborators, value chain partners in great financial difficulty. It will directly impact the business of Safran.

High dependence on third party suppliers

– Safran high dependence on third party suppliers can disrupt its processes and delivery mechanism. For example -the current troubles of car makers because of chip shortage is because the chip companies started producing chips for electronic companies rather than car manufacturers.

Easy access to finance

– Easy access to finance in Aerospace & Defense industry will also reduce the barriers to entry in the industry, thus putting downward pressure on the prices because of increasing competition. Safran can utilize it by borrowing at lower rates and invest it into research and development, capital expenditure to fortify its core competitive advantage.

Technology disruption because of hacks, piracy etc

– The colonial pipeline illustrated, how vulnerable modern organization are to international hackers, miscreants, and disruptors. The cyber security interruption, data leaks, etc can seriously jeopardize the future growth of the organization.

Environmental challenges

– Safran needs to have a robust strategy against the disruptions arising from climate change and energy requirements. EU has identified it as key priority area and spending 30% of its 880 billion Euros European post Covid-19 recovery funds on green technology. Safran can take advantage of this fund but it will also bring new competitors in the Aerospace & Defense industry.

Aging population

– As the populations of most advanced economies are aging, it will lead to high social security costs, higher savings among population, and lower demand for goods and services in the economy. The household savings in US, France, UK, Germany, and Japan are growing faster than predicted because of uncertainty caused by pandemic.




Weighted SWOT Analysis of Safran Template, Example


Not all factors mentioned under the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants in the SWOT Analysis are equal. Managers at Safran needs to zero down on the relative importance of each factor mentioned in the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats quadrants. We can provide the relative importance to each factor by assigning relative weights. Weighted SWOT analysis process is a three stage process –

First stage for doing weighted SWOT analysis of Safran is to rank the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This will help you to assess the most important strengths and weaknesses of the firm and which one of the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the initial lists are marginal and can be left out.

Second stage for conducting weighted SWOT analysis of Safran is to give probabilities to the external strategic factors thus better understanding the opportunities and threats arising out of macro environment changes and developments.

Third stage of constructing weighted SWOT analysis of Safran to provide strategic recommendations includes – joining likelihood of external strategic factors such as opportunities and threats to the internal strategic factors – strengths and weaknesses. You should start with external factors as they will provide the direction of the overall industry. Secondly by joining probabilities with internal strategic factors can help the company not only strategic fit but also the most probably strategic trade-off that Safran needs to make to build a sustainable competitive advantage.



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